Earth Law Center works to transform the law to recognize and protect nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve.

We do this by building a force of advocates for nature's rights at local and international levels.


We envision a future in which humans and nature flourish together.

Programs and Priorities

Our continued well being depends on a paradigm shift in law from a human based one to a nature based one so ecological communities also have rights and protections. This would mean securing legal rights for Marine Protected Areas like the Patagonian Sea can protect thousands of species of animals and help preserve that key ecosystem. Granting the Great Lakes legal rights ensures the protection and restoration of that ecosystem, resulting in a sustainable relationship between human needs and the needs of the ecosystem and species within.

what we've achieved

  • Made Earth Law statement at United Nations Ocean Conference 2017

  • Gathered 62 signatories from 34 countries in Call to Action Ocean Initiative for including Rights of Nature in Ocean Governance at the United Nations Ocean Conference 2017

  • Co-authored the first global experts report on Earth Jurisprudence requested by the United Nations.

  • Co-organized and served as Prosecutor for the 2016 Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal.

  • Co-organized and served as Co-Prosecutor at the Third International Rights of Nature Tribunal held in Paris December 2015.

  • With Yale Law School, created and released a report highlighting 100 cases of co-violations (activities giving rise to both nature's and human rights violations) worldwide: Fighting for Our Shared Future: Protecting Human Rights and Nature's Rights.

  • Co-drafted and ensured passage of Santa Monica’s “Sustainability Rights Ordinance,” the West Coast’s first “rights of nature” law

  • Co-established the “Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance” in the San Francisco bioregion

  • Co-organized and served as Prosecutor for the 2014 Bay Area “People’s Tribunal” addressing co-violations of nature’s rights and human rights

  • Brought instream water rights messages to the California State Legislature and Water Board

  • Worked with Yale University Law School to develop an instream water rights campaign

  • Developed and taught “Earth Law” graduate course at Vermont Law School and elsewhere